Posted on October 13, 2009 by Tia Lalani

Wildlife and Greenspace: One Student’s Summer Job Experience

By Kara Blizzard

During the four months of summer holidays, most university students take up summer jobs to replenish their savings. Some of them have the privilege of enhancing their education by finding positions in their field of study. Kaley Segboer, a fourth year Environmental Sciences student at U of A’s Augustana Campus, was able to do so this past summer.

Kaley Segboer during a class. Photo by Ken Duncan.

Segboer worked for the Camrose Wildlife and Greenspace Stewardship Project (CWGSP) as a coordinator. The organization was formed in 2002, and its goals include promoting the effective management of wildlife and greenspace within Camrose. CWGSP also helps educate citizens about the natural environment through interpretive programs. Several local organizations, including Augustana, support the project. For the past several years the Stewardship committee has hired a summer student to help fulfill some of the organization’s goals.

Segboer worked primarily with Augustana Professor Dr. Glen Hvenegaard, and Michael Barr from Ducks Unlimited. One of her tasks was to organize weekly environmental education sessions at the Four Seasons Environmental Centre. According to Segboer, one of the highlights was a presentation by Rick Lightning, a Cree Medicine Man, who talked about spirit and nature in today’s society. Two Augustana professors also shared some of their insight: Dr. Glynnis Hood took participants into the park to teach them about wetlands, and Dr. Michael Mucz talked about local plants and their traditional medicinal uses. Segboer said the sessions were successful, and they “reached a wide array of people.”

Other parts of the summer program included day camps, which were composed of outdoor activities to help “increase [children’s] awareness of the environment, and get them out and involved in nature.” Segboer also did some analytical research: she monitored Camrose’s Purple Martin population. There are about 100 Purple Martin houses throughout Camrose, both public and private, and Segboer did population counts and talked to landowners about taking care of the birds.

Kaley Segboer grew up in Wetaskiwin. When she first came to Augustana she was a biology major, but when she switched to environmental sciences “everything just seemed to click.” She described her summer job as “a really good opportunity to use the theory that I learned in class and apply it to practical situations. Even now it’s helping with my classes, especially Parks and Wilderness.” She was able to use her prior knowledge to benefit CWGSP, and she learned a lot of new skills in the process. In addition to furthering her environmental knowledge, Segboer learned about budgeting, project management, and working independently. These skills will likely help her in her future career: “my ideal situation would be working for some sort of ENGO (environmental non-government organization) or even something such as Cows and Fish, which helps teach people to take care of the land they use.”

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